Social Media can Take a Toll on Teens’ Mental Health

teen on phone
Adrian Swancar – Unsplash

While social media can have some positive effects on teens, such as connecting with friends and family, sharing experiences, and finding support, there is growing evidence that excessive use of social media can be harmful to their mental health and well-being.

There is a growing concern among researchers and mental health professionals about the potential negative impact of social media on the mental health of kids and teens. While social media can provide a sense of connection and community, it can also expose young people to cyberbullying, social comparison, and unrealistic standards of beauty and success.

Research has found that excessive social media use is associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem in young people. This can be due to several factors, including cyberbullying, social comparison, and exposure to unrealistic beauty standards and lifestyles. The constant pressure to maintain a perfect online image and gain social approval can also lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and ironically social isolation.

teens holding yellow iphone 5 c
Jose P. Ortiz – Unsplash

In addition, social media use can be addictive, with teens often feeling compelled to check their notifications and engage with their online communities, which can lead to a lack of focus on schoolwork or other responsibilities and can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions. The excessive use of social media may also disrupt sleep patterns, physical activity levels, and face-to-face social interactions, which can negatively impact overall well-being.

Parents, educators, and mental health professionals can help mitigate the negative effects of social media on young people by promoting healthy online behaviors, setting limits on screen time, and role-modeling healthy behavior while being open and talking to them. Additionally, encourage teens to take breaks from social media to engage in offline activities as well as seek support when they need it, especially when they feel overwhelmed or distressed.